WEST JEFFERSON — North Carolina Department of Transportation officials held a second meeting with Ashe motorists the afternoon of Thursday, Oct. 18 to present two preliminary alternates for a proposed project to improve traffic flow along the South Jefferson Avenue section of U.S. 221 Business, between N.C. 194 and Beaver Creek School Road.
The first meeting on July 26 proposed a superstreet intersection, which according to studies provided by the Federal Highway Administration is a type of U-turn-based intersection that is less prone to accidents than the conventional four-way intersection currently in place.
“A total of 36 accidents were recorded on U.S. 221 Business (South Jefferson Avenue), between Ashemont Drive to Beaver Creek School Road/Crescent Drive, during a five-year period (May 1, 2013 to April 30, 2018),” the NCDOT said. “Of the 36 accidents, nine were injury crashes and one severe injury crash.”
In addition to the superstreet option suggested in the first meeting, a second design was proposed by the NCDOT at the Oct. 18 meeting — a roundabout at the intersection of U.S. 221 Business, Beaver Creek School Road and Crescent Drive, with concrete medians extending north of the roundabout, ending at Speaks Road.
Preliminary designs are still being mulled over for this project, according to NCDOT, and construction is not slated to begin until 2024, although NCDOT Division 11 Project Manager Ramie Shaw said the project could be rescheduled to a different date depending on how long the preliminary planning process takes. Currently, the project is estimated to cost $1.6 million, including $300,000 for right of way acquisition, according to the NCDOT.
“Public involvement is an important part of the project development process,” the NCDOT said. “The NCDOT encourages public involvement on all transportation projects.”
The superstreet and roundabout maps can be found at https://www.ncdot.gov/news/public-meetings/Pages/R-5833-2018-10-18.aspx. The maps are also available for viewing at West Jefferson Town Hall.
Comments about the State Transportation Improvement Program project number R-5833 may be mailed or emailed to Jim Beck at 4235 South Stream Blvd., STE 150 in Charlotte, N.C. 28217, or firstname.lastname@example.org by Nov. 1.
Ramie Shaw is the NCDOT Division 11 Project Manager, and can be reached at the Division 11 Office, P.O. Box 250 in North Wilkesboro, N.C. 28659, or via email at email@example.com.